Thursday, September 6, 2007

When Your Number's Up, It's Up!

In the sleepy little town of Fairwater, a monstrous evil has awakened... an evil so powerful, its reach extends beyond the grave. Director Peter Jackson and Executive Producer Robert Zemeckis unleash a riveting thriller with the most spectacular special effects this side of the hereafter.

For Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox), death is a great way to make a living: ridding haunted houses of their unwelcome "guests." But as it happens, he's in cahoots with the very ghosts he promises to evict! It's the perfect scam... until Frank finds himself at the center of a dark and terrible mystery. A diabolical spirit is on a muderous rampage, and the whole town believes Frank is behind it. Depserate to find the true culprit and exorcise his personal "demons," Frank crosses the ultimate barrier into a shadowy realm where even death can't stop a killer.

Boasting music by Danny Elfman and co-starring Trini Alvarado, Jeffrey Combs and John Astin, this supernatural chiller is so fiendishly entertaining, it's scary!

Title: The Frighteners
Release: July 19, 1996
Genre: Horror- Comedy
MPAA Rating: R
Writer: Fran Walsh & Peter Jackson
Director: Peter Jackson
Music By: Danny Elfman
Produced By: Peter Jackson, Jamie Selkirk, & Robert Zemeckis
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Run Time: 110 minutes
Official Site

I vaguely remember watching The Frighteners when it first came out in 1996. It was made long before Peter Jackson became a known name (mainly for directing King Kong and the Lord of the Rings trilogy), before gore-fest movies were the norm for a horror flick, and while Michael J. Fox was still in his acting prime. My ten year old self sat down to watch a horror comedy and hoped that she would be scared and entertained… she was. So much so that I still remembered bits and pieces of the film 11 years later.

Of course the parts I mainly remembered were the cool special effects (especially at the end) so when I re-watched Frighteners on TV last week I was immediately caught up in the story and was cursing the commercials. I’m amazed that the film (and its special effects) didn’t seem to be dated in the least bit. It was just as interesting to me as it was then but at least now certain parts didn’t give me nightmares!

The film did remind me of Beetlejuice a bit in the fact that it’s a horror comedy (more horror than comedy in Frighteners though) but also because both film scores are written by the same person: Danny Elfman. I pretty much know whether or not I will like a movie just by the fact he is involved (it’s not an exact science but it’s only failed me once or twice). I really enjoyed this film’s scoring but not as much as some of Elfman’s other works.

With all of this praise I’m heaping onto this movie I bet you’re wondering if there was anything I didn’t like. Well, I wasn’t too wild about a couple of the actor’s performances. I thought Jeffery Combs (Milton Dammers, FBI nut) and Peter Dobson (Ray Lynskey) overacted their characters too much. I know they were supposed to be some of the comic relief but they just came off as annoying to me. Other than those two, I did enjoy all of the other acting because Michael J. Fox (Frank Bannister), Trini Alvarado (Dr. Lucy Lynskey), Jake Busey (Johnny Bartlett), and most of others give really good performances.

~ I watched The Frighteners on TV. I have heard that the DVD is really great and crammed full of bonus features but it’s also supposed to be hard to get.

Find The Frighteners Online



DVD Featurette:



  1. Now this is a movie I haven't heard of it a long while! I remember enjoying it when it first came out, but I really don't remember much about it. Your post was a good refresher though.

  2. One of my favorites. I saw it in the theater and I own the DVD. Unfortunately, I have the original DVD with almost NO bonus features on it.

    I can't seem to convince my wife to see it, though.

  3. Oh, I loved this movie! It was one of those ones I went to without knowing much about it at all (no preconceptions), and we ended up having a great time. I was just thinking about it - I bet my kids will enjoy it when they're just a little bit older.



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